Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(2)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(2)
Author: H.M. Ward

I fixated on the place in my mind, fighting back the fatigue that was pawing at me. As heat seared through me, I glanced up into his eyes one more time. They held more words than he could have ever said. Kreturus chose well. Collin was the only one who could have tempted me. He was the only one I wanted, and now I'd never have him. His thoughts pushed at my mind trying to convince me to rest and let him slow the poison. I felt his desperation, but couldn't give in. I'd done the only thing I knew that would stop the prophecy.

Collin didn't realize what I was doing until I whispered, "You meant everything to me. I love you. Good-bye, Collin." As I focused on the ruby ring and effonated away, I heard Collin screaming my name.


I appeared in the place I'd wanted, the place where no one would find me - the Lorren. Ironically, I'd be safe in the ancient tomb. No one could follow me here because they'd never seen the inside of this horrible place. The only three people to have ever survived the Lorren's snare were Shannon, Eric, and me. And I blasted Shannon back to New York, and Eric...well, Eric was hunting Shannon. Collin might try to use the bond to find me. That thought occurred to me, but he'd never locate me before the Lorren tempted him to death. No, he wouldn't come.

I'd die alone.

Staggering, I reached out for the golden wall. My legs couldn't support my weight and I collapsed on the rust colored stain near the exit, with my face pressed to the cold, golden floor. With drugged eyes too heavy to remain open much longer, I stared at the stain. It was the place Eric had died. It was the place I'd made an unforgiveable error and given my first demon kiss. I traced my finger over the bloodstain as silent sobs bubbled up from deep within me.  That smear of blood was the embodiment of my worst failure. It was the foretelling of the evil that was growing inside of me.

I didn't retreat to a place that would allow me to die in peace. It was a place that reminded me that my decision was right. The Lorren reminded me that I was what I was - the Prophecy One - and that I was dangerous. This place marked the death of the Ivy I was, the loss of my innocence as I drank my first soul. It didn't matter to me that Eric was dying. It didn't matter that I tried to save him and screwed up. That's exactly why I was so dangerous - I didn't give up. I kept trying and it was those attempts that seemed to push things over the edge. The look on Collin's face made me question my actions, but being in this place confirmed my original thoughts - I'd made the right choice.

As tears streaked my face, and puddled under my cheek, I closed my eyes. My entire body had grown numb as the poison spread throughout. My hands clutched my chest beneath me and were coated in warm blood from the laceration. I'd never given much thought to dying and wondered if the sleepiness that was tugging at me was death summoning me. It didn't matter what it was, because there was no more time to think about anything. There was no more time for regrets or worries. A wave of weariness that was too heavy to endure closed my eyes for me, and everything went black.

I fell into the nothingness, suspended in an inky, cold darkness. Pain didn't exist. For a brief moment, nothing happened. It felt more like I was trapped in a dream that was stuck on pause. I'm not certain how long I remained in that state. It was like I was aware of my soul, but had no control over my form. My body was gone - dissolved into the pitch-black nothingness.

After a while, the dreams started. Strange dreams. There was a dark-haired boy talking to me, but I didn't know what he was saying. He spoke and gestured that I should follow. His orange shorts had big white flowers printed on them. I wondered if he was going to go swimming. I liked swimming, but I didn't follow him, which seemed to piss him off. 

Then, the dream shifted and the boy was older now. His hair darkened to black and words spilled out of his mouth like water. I swear I could see the words dangle through the air as he spoke to me. He said my name over and over again, and the letters I V Y poured over his lips and pooled at my feet. Before long, the dream shifted again.

I sat alone in the darkness, cross-legged on the floor. Slowly, I glanced around seeing nothing but a single flame flickering in the darkness. Rising to my feet I moved towards the light, but it moved farther and farther away. Panic flooded the dream and suddenly I was running - running towards the candle as it was being carried away. I had to find it. I had to stop it from leaving. But, it was already gone. I pressed my eyes closed, and blinking slowly, reopened them.

The dream changed and as my eyes focused in the dimly lit room I could see golden walls covered in flickering candlelight. My senses went into overdrive as the lightness I'd felt vanished. Confused, I blinked again and continued to look around. Where was I? I thought I was dead, but this looked like the Lorren. Fear pooled in the pit of my stomach. Spending eternity damned in the confines of the Lorren made me stomach twist. But, that's where I was. Golden jewel encrusted poppies lined the walls. This was definitely the Lorren, but it wasn't the place I'd fallen. There was a cold hard surface pressing against my back. My fingers pressed into the golden slab I was laying on. Someone must have moved me from the place I'd fallen. My mind was still foggy. Whether it was the after effects of the poison or death, I wasn't sure. I just knew that I should have been dead, and instead, I felt quite alive. Blood rushed through my heart, which was racing in my chest. The surreal feelings that had overcome me after I fell were gone. My body and my soul were glued together again, and my pain was nearly gone. My eyes flicked through the large room looking for answers. It became very clear that I was somewhere else within the evil maze of temptation. And someone was here with me.

The boy leaned over a work table with tiny tools, at the center of which was a single jeweled rose. Its stem and petals were deep blue, with the exception of a few petals, which gleamed bright silver. The boy crafting the rose was tall and slender. His black hair hung in his face as he worked, meticulously grasping the slender stem between callused fingers. A dingy black tee shirt hung two sizes too big to his body.

He spoke without turning towards me, "So, you're awake." It wasn't a question. He turned around to look at me. A shiver ran down my spine. There was something about him, something intimidating beyond anything I'd ever felt. His pale skin and dark hair seemed otherworldly and his brilliant green eyes shone like emeralds.

I tried to sit up, but my head felt like my skull was cracked open. Weakness limited my movements. Instead of responding, I moaned and closed my eyes.

The boy spoke again, "I wouldn't move around too much. You had a nasty wound there." He pointed at my chest. My hand rose to my breastbone and I slid my fingers across my chest. There was a long, thin welt on my skin. Before I could speak, he answered my question. "Yeah, there's a scar. But you're lucky. Very lucky. That crap almost killed you. But I knew how to save you." He twirled the blue rose between his fingers. It was an odd movement. He'd just been so careful with it that it seemed wrong for him to twirl it so carelessly. Maybe he didn't care if it shattered if it slipped between his fingers.

So this guy saved me. I stared at him wondering how that was possible. He was a scrawny nobody twirling flowers in the Lorren. My throat tightened as I wondered if that flower was someone. The Lorren's lined with flowers that were people who'd not made it out alive.  The whole situation seemed too weird to be true, but here I was. So what happened? Who was this guy and why was he in the Lorren? And more importantly, why did he save me. He just stopped me from preventing the apocalypse. Irritation shot through me. Arrogance flowed off of him in waves, as he smirked smugly at me.

My voice rasped as I slowly sat up, holding my throbbing head, "You have no idea what you did." My voice was level and unfeeling. I didn't know how he healed me, who he was, or what to do next. Shit! This wasn't supposed to happen. I effonated to the Lorren because I was the only one who survived it. No one else could enter without the magic of the Lorren screwing with them and eventually killing them. And yet - here was black-haired boy looking at me in all his Goth glory.

"Yes, I think I do." He answered. He smiled that smug smile again, "You just made the biggest mistake of your life. And I fixed it." Walking towards me, he carelessly twirled the blue rose between his fingers.

I glared at him from my place on the golden slab. "Who are you? What'd you do to me?" I wished I was able to stand, but I couldn't move. My head felt large and too heavy to remain upright on top of my shoulders. It felt like a lead balloon and I was having issues holding it up. I blinked hard and felt the room sway. Apparently I swayed, because the boy caught me in his arms and laid me back down.

"Easy there. Quit trying to get up. You're too weak. And I'm not quite done yet." He reached for my neckline and I swatted at him, slapping his hands away.

"What are you doing? You can't grope me, you perv." I couldn't believe this was happening. This insane boy had revived me and was trying to grab a feel. My head throbbed so badly that I wanted to close my eyes and stop thinking. As it was, it felt like rusty gears scraping against each other in my brain just to form a sentence.

He laughed, shocked, and shook his head. "Don't flatter yourself. I'm using this to make a sieve and draw the poison out of you. Where'd you get this wound, anyway? It was pretty nasty." Feeling confused, I swatted him away again as he reached for my neckline. "I liked you better asleep." He frowned at me and folded his arms.

My jaw was hanging open. "I was dying. I wasn't asleep. And you screwed me over."

He laughed, "You mean you wanted to die? There's no way you're that stupid. I mean, I've heard things about the awesome Ivy Taylor, but that would be truly idiotic. There's no way you would have tried to kill yourself. " He slid up onto a golden ledge similar to the one I was laying on and looked at me.

I have no idea what expression was on my face, but his words made me pause. He knew who I was. And he seemed to think my death would be a bad thing. My eyes became narrow slits as I growled, "Don't pretend you know what you're talking about or what just happened to me. You don't know! You just came along and screwed it all up."

Slouching, he gestured toward my chest - ignoring my comments - and tilted the flower toward me. "Can I finish this or not?"

Glancing at him out of the corner of my eye, I pressed my lips tightly and didn't respond. The boy was leaning forward, dangling his legs over the edge of the golden slab he sat on. Suspicion raked me. Maybe I was horrible, but there is no way anybody who chose to be in the Lorren was up to anything good.

His words bounced around in my brain until I was asking myself questions; what did he do to draw out the poison? How did he do it? I didn't think it was possible. Everything I heard about sapphire serum said it was lethal. I never heard of someone removing the poison from infected blood, but I was new to all this. So maybe he could. But the thought that clattered the loudest as it bounced through my head was this one: why did he think that sacrificing myself was a mistake?

From his comments, he seemed to think it would be utterly stupid. And that I should have known better. But I didn't. There was no mistake in my mind  - removing me from the equation was the only option. No more Ivy, meant no more prophecy. At least I thought it did, but now I wasn't so sure. Not with this arrogant boy sitting here inferring otherwise.

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